Note: If you are making this in the summer, try brushing ripe peach halves with oil and grilling along with the chicken. Grill cut side first and then flip and brush with glaze. You could also grill and glaze veggies like onions, peppers or summer squash in the same way.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Balsamic Glazed Chicken
The recipe I want to share today makes use of one of my favorite and most versatile sauces- a balsamic reduction glaze. I use this for everything. I first made it for veggie kabobs on the grill. Then I used it to make turkey gravy darker and richer. Now I use it for everything, including grilled chicken and peaches- a great summer meal. I love the simplicity of this chicken with a nice baby greens salad and maybe a rice dish.
Balsamic glazed grilled chicken
2 -3 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs ( or boneless chicken breast)
Brine: 2 quarts water, 1/3 cup kosher salt, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar,Optional- 1 tsp crushed garlic, pinch of red pepper
Glaze- About 6 oz balsamic vinegar, about 2 TBSPN brown sugar or honey-optional, 1 tsp salt, optional
Brining will improve the texture and make chicken juicier and more flavorful. However, if you are in a hurry you can skip this step.
First make brine by heating 1 quart of water and then pouring into glass bowl or other non reactive container and adding salt, sugar and vinegar. You may add other seasonings such as garlic or red pepper flakes or leave as is. Mix until salt and sugar are dissolved then add 1 quart cold water. I like to put some ice and the rest cold water. Once this is cool, add chicken and refrigerate for 2-8 hours. I think about 4 hours is optimal.
While chicken is brining, make a balsamic reduction sauce. This is a simple useful sauce, great for grilled meat, vegetables, fruit such as peaches. You can add to gravies and sauces or to sautéed veggies or meat. It is great drizzled over pasta dishes or salad or fruit or even desserts! I have used cheaper balsamic and more expensive and I think both are fine. A good flavor in the vinegar is important but reducing it makes something totally new- a slightly sweet glaze with rich flavor and dark, glossy color.
Okay, pour balsamic vinegar into medium sauce pan with somewhat heavy bottom. Heat to low boil, stir and reduce to simmer. Add sugar or honey and salt if you wish to use them. If you have a sensitive nose, you may want to turn on a vent for this. Do not put your face directly above it, it is very vinegary at this point. Stir often and watch carefully. You want it to reduce by about half. It takes about 10-20 minutes but may take more so just watch for a reduction of at least half . This can go from glisteny glaze to gooey mess quickly. Once it is thickened and reduce remove from heat.
Grill your chicken Thighs. I do this on a gas grill outside. Get the grill very hot. Remove chicken from brine and pat it dry. Brush with olive or veggie oil. Place on hot grill and reduce heat to medium low. Bring a little bowl of balsamic glaze out to grill. Grill about 4-5 minutes on side then turn over and brush with a little bit of glaze. Grill other side for 4 min then check for doneness. (Obviously, if you choose to grill chicken breasts, they will need to cook longer. I recommend flattening them with a mallet.) These times are just guidelines. Grilling times can vary but you want it done while not drying it out. If you prefer not to grill outside, these could be grilled in a grill pan or under the broiler.
Put chicken in dish and generously drizzle glaze over it. Let it sit 4-5 minutes.
Put glaze on table if you wish. Refrigerate left over glaze and use for another recipe. I try to make extra for this.